Naomi Osaka is uncertain when the subsequent sport will happen as she is contemplating taking a break from tennis “for some time”
NEW YORK – After losing the third round of the US Open on Friday night, tearful Naomi Osaka told the media she wasn’t sure when she would next play a competitive tennis match and take an indefinite break from playing .
In a press conference following the 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 loss to Leylah Fernandez, Osaka told reporters that the sport no longer brings her joy.
“I feel like for myself lately, if I win I don’t feel happy,” said Osaka. “I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I’m very sad. I don’t think that’s normal.”
Osaka, 23, then started crying and the host tried to end the media session but said she wanted to continue.
“Basically, I feel like I’m at this point trying to figure out what I want to do and I honestly don’t know when I’ll be playing my next tennis match,” said Osaka. “I think I’ll take a break from playing for a while.”
The press conference then ended abruptly.
Osaka, the tournament’s defending champion and four-time major winner, faced 18-year-old Fernandez at Arthur Ashe Stadium throughout the match and her frustration was evident. She smashed her bat on the court and one point threw it. She was later cautioned for hitting a ball in the stands. After losing the second set tiebreak, she left for a bathroom break with her head wrapped in a towel.
Osaka has played frugally since retiring from the French Open prior to their second round match in May. Prior to the tournament, 23-year-old Osaka, citing her mental health, said she would not attend press conferences at Roland Garros and the decision sparked a firestorm. She was fined after signing out of media duties following her win in the opening round and then withdrawing from the event.
She later revealed in a post on social media that she had experienced “long bouts of depression” after her breakthrough at the US Open in 2018. Osaka then skipped Wimbledon and didn’t play again until the Olympics in their native Japan. She only played in one lead-in event before the US Open and lost in the round of 16 against Jil Teichmann at the Western & Southern Open.
Despite her lack of games, Osaka said she was happy with the state of her game at the US Open during a pre-tournament press conference and called it “really nice” to be back. Osaka had advanced to the third round via walkover after their second-round opponent Olga Danilovic resigned due to illness. She defeated Marie Bouzkova in the first round on Monday 6: 4, 6: 1.
While the US Open is the last major of the year, both the WTA Finals and the pandemic-delayed BNP Paribas Open, a 1000-level event, as well as other smaller tournaments remain.